September 20, 2020
1:00 pm ET
About the Broncos
QB Drew Lock came close to winning his first game as a full-time starter as they lost to the Tennessee Titans by 2 points. Lock was without his best WR when Courtland Sutton was left out with a shoulder injury. Lock did a good job distributing the ball and was able to sustain impulses. RB Melvin Gordon did most of the work in the backfield, while RB Phillip Lindsay exited the game with a turf toe injury. His status for this week’s game is uncertain. TE sophomore Noah Fant had 5 receptions for 81 yards and a TD. Usually a safe bet to win at home, the Broncos lost a Week 1 home game for the first time in their last 8 attempts. The Broncos must do a better job stopping the run as they allowed 130 rushing yards to the Titans. The Broncos can improve their chances of winning by generating turnovers on defense and preventing them on offense, especially against an opportunistic Steeler defense.
About the Steelers
This Steelers defense played like the Iron Curtain of yesteryear, keeping Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley to just 6 yards on the ground and harassing quarterback Daniel Jones all night. QB Ben Roethlisberger made his long-awaited comeback and declared that he “came back to play with his teammates.” He looked a bit rusty at first, but eventually he pulled it off and started playing like the Roethlisberger of yesteryear, throwing for 229 yards and 3 TDs. RB Bennie Snell went berserk as he received most of the workload in the wake of Conner’s injury. Snell racked up 113 yards on 19 touches, averaging nearly 6 yards per carry. WR Juju Smith-Schuster scored 2 TDs, but will have a lot of work for him against CB Bryce Callahan. CB AJ Bouye suffered a shoulder injury and is expected to be out of the game for a few weeks. On defense, the Steelers will have to close out the Broncos ‘running game and force the Broncos into third and long, allowing TJ Watt and the Steelers’ talented LB Bud Dupree to prosper.
Players to watch
Jerry Jeudy (Broncos): Jeudy had a good NFL debut with 4 receptions and 56 yards, but was plagued by dropped passes, but showed a penchant for opening up and creating separation between himself and the defender.
TJ Watt (Steelers): Watt was all over the field for the Steelers against the Giants with 1 interception, 2 passes defended and 1 tackle to lose as he can disrupt the passing game with an aggressive passing run.
Alex Highsmith (Steelers): Highsmith didn’t do much in his NFL debut, but he fits the profile of the Steelers’ LB prototype.
Michael Ojemuda (Broncos): Ojemuda will be a good CB in the Broncos system for years to come with his physique, instincts, ball skills and competitiveness.
Key stat: The Steelers had 2 key points in their game against the Giants. They lead the NFL in that category with 38 last season.
This should be a back and forth defensive battle. This game will come down to what QB can do at the end of a game, and Roethlisberger has the playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to do it.
Final score: Steelers 24 / Broncos 17